With the changeable weather conditions we’ve had recently I knew we’d need some indoor activities to keep my nine-year old son entertained. I’m all for learning through play and we’ve been having fun over the last week and growing knowledge with Thames and Kosmos Science Kits. We’ve been sent the Prehistoric Sea Dogs and Crystal Geode sets, which are both aimed at children aged 8 years and over.
The great thing about growing knowledge with Thames and Kosmos Science Kits is that you don’t get instant results, patience is required as well as good observation skills.
The Prehistoric Sea Dogs set comes with a bowl, salt sachet, spatula and pipette, sachet of eggs, sachet of food, measuring cup and instruction leaflet.
We’ve used a similar kit before so my son already knew that patience would be key to this experiment as you need to wait a few days for the eggs to start hatching, and then once they have, it takes a few more weeks for them to be a size where you can really see them well without a magnifying glass. The instruction leaflet mentioned that the kit should have contained a magnifying glass which is didn’t, but the photo on the product box didn’t include this item. so I’m not sure whether it really should have been included or not.
You need to be careful with feeding them as they only need a tiny sesame seed size amount of shrimp food every two weeks. It’s also really important to keep their water environment well oxygenated with the pipette provided. if too much algae starts to form then you can use the pipette to remove it from the water. It’s an ongoing project and one that will keep my son entertained for weeks to come. There’s plenty of eggs and food provided and if you look after the shrimps well you will see them reproduce and the cycle will begin again. The instruction leaflet also gives advice on what salt solution to use should you wish to repeat the experiment in future.
The Crystal Geode set was a completely new experiment for us and we had no idea what to expect. The set comes with a mould, 2 sachets of potassium sulphate, 1 bag of red dye, 1 bag of plaster, plastic mould, measuring cup and wooden spatula, as well as an instruction booklet.
There are three stages to this particular kit, you produce the seed crystals, fill the mould and then grow the crystals. The whole procedure takes about four days to complete. So again, some patience is required but my son has loved watching the transformation as the crystals formed.
You will need a preserving jar (we used an empty glass food container) and some sort of plastic storage pot for this experiment. Children learn about keeping safe around hot water, as parents learn that the red dye really does stain fingers (if only temporarily). My son found it hilarious that he managed to avoid getting any of it on him. But that aside, the instructions are easy to follow.
The seed crystals are produced my melting a packet of crystal powder in water being warmed through the glass. Then the solution is allowed to cool. You then use half the plaster powder (I’m not sure why the kit isn’t supplied with either less plaster or more of the other ingredients so you could make another Geode), mix with water and pour into the mould, then add the seed crystals to the wet plaster. We used a spoon to extract the crystals from the water and then my son scattered them over the mould. Leave for 24 hours.
The next day you repeat the process with the second packet of crystal powder but once the crystals have dissolved you add the red dye powder to the jar and then pour the solution into the mould. We had excess solution so that was stored in a plastic container. You then leave the mould for two days to let the crystals form. After one day we noticed that the level of the solution had decreased so we added more for our our excess pot and added the crystals that had formed in the pot.
We left the mould for an extra day and then poured the excess solution into a plastic cup to reveal our fully formed Crystal Geode. My son was really impressed, and it’s now sitting in pride of place in his bedroom.
For £8.99 growing knowledge with Thames and Kosmos Science Kits has been great fun and we’re looking forward at looking at the offer kits in this particular set. These include Amazing Minerals, Bouncing Planets, Crystal Growing, Molecule Beads, Monster Putty and Magic Tricks. You can find out about them all on the Thames and Kosmos website.
disclosure: we were sent the items mentioned in exchange for an honest review
I’ve teamed up with Thames and Kosmos to offer one lucky reader the chance to win a Crystal Geode set worth £8.99. Complete the Gleam form below for your chance to win. Good luck!
Terms and conditions:
(Please note that all entries will be checked against comments for validation).
Only the first step of this form is mandatory, all other steps are optional. Only one entry per person is allowed.
This giveaway is for UK residents only.
Once a winner is randomly picked, I will check if the winner has done what was requested and I will contact them, if they do not reply within one week, the prize will be allocated to another person. The winner’s details will be sent to Playtime PR for Thames and Kosmos, in order that they can arrange delivery. Please allow 28 days for delivery.
The giveaway will close on 15th May 2019 at midnight.
Don’t forget to visit my Giveaways page for more great prizes on offer!